City Storytelling: Les chroniques de Mapuetos
Mauricio Ruiz

  • 27 Jan 2018

In dreams, the brain makes sense of what we experience throughout the day. Neuronal connections are reinforced, the unconscious mind busy processing past events and information that often remain hidden from us. Concerns and aspirations come to the surface while we’re asleep, psychologist say. But could dreams foretell an experience we’re bound to have? “On the night of the 10th to the 11th of September, 2012, I dreamt that I walked and walked, I was leaving a city behind me. I began to climb up a mountain, and the higher I walked, the freer I felt. A force pulled me towards the summit. And then I saw it. A sign with the word Mapuetos on it,” said Belgian writer and theater director Patrick Lowie, on Friday January 26th, 2018, at Librebook within the cycle of lectures called “City Storytelling”. Since the end of 2017, writers and thinkers have come to Librebook to talk about cities such as Minsk, Thessaloniki, Sarajevo, Bratislava, and Prague.

“I was in Marrakesh when I had that dream,” continued Lowie. “The time was 3:30 in the morning. I remember because I got up and searched for Mapuetos on the internet. I just couldn’t find it anywhere. Haven’t found it to this day.”

A few weeks later, Lowie was walking down one of the aisles of the Palais de Justice in Brussels when he heard someone calling after him. “It was a clerk who worked there, a man I had never seen –I was in the Palais de Justice because I had some legal procedures to solve – and he beckoned me. ‘I want to show you something,’ he said. ‘I want to talk to you about Marceau Ivréa.’”

Marceau Ivréa, Lowie found out, had been a Belgian-Italian writer who died in the St. Gilles prison without ever being judged. After his death, the police found more than three thousand pages in room #12 of the then Hotel Liegois, now Hotel Siru. “The clerk felt the need, I don’t know why, to tell me about this man,” said Lowie. “And there, in Marceau Ivréa’s writing, I found it again: Mapuetos. Imagine my shock.”

From these thousands of pages, Lowie has put together a handful of books including, Amaroli Miracoli (Ed. Maelstrom, 2013), which in the original manuscript had the form of a letter Ivréa had written to the Governor (sic.) of the Kingdom of Belgium to the United States and Allies. When asked whether Ivréa had meant ambassador instead of governor, Lowie replied, “I don’t know. I really don’t know what he meant. Perhaps it was a form of sarcasm or irony, it’s not clear.”

The Mapuetos Chronicles, as they are called, will consist of forty episodes, out of which five have been published: Amaroli Miracoli; Marrakech, désamour; Le Cantique des Cantiques; Charabia; Next, 111 portraits oniriques. During the event, excerpts from some of these texts were read by poet and actress, Laurence Vielle, as well as segments in Italian by Maelstrom’s editor, David Giannoni.

The title of the most recent book, 111 portraits oniriques, has a hidden reference to the number twelve, Giannoni explained. “If you add eleven plus one, what do you get?”

A few of the original manuscript pages by Ivréa will be shown at a festival organized by Maelstrom later this year. “Twelve plus one pages, to be precise,” said Giannoni. “You need to get that right. The number twelve appears and reappears.”

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